Upcoming Event: On Saturday August 20, I’m heading down to the beautiful Mornington Peninsular just out of Melbourne to talk about Zadie Ma and the Dog Who Chased the Moon. This presentation is suitable for 8-12 year olds and will be followed by a Chinese dragon drawing workshop. To book- https://www.trybooking.com/CASYZ For more information – https://www.farrells.com.au/author-event-gabrielle-wang/Learn More
I was walking down Swanston Street in Melbourne alone one day, near the old City Baths, (I was about 15 years old) when I saw a homeless man coming towards me. He looked rough – dirty clothes, unshaven face, scraggly hair, the type of man whose age has been obliterated by hard times.
I braced myself. Experience had taught me that a racist remark doesnt hurt nearly as much if you are expecting it. I had grown up with racial taunts my whole life but you never get used to them. You say to yourself that these people are just ignoramuses, but it doesnt help.
I gritted my teeth.
As the man passed he opened his mouth to speak. But to my surprise and great joy, he said in a beautiful gravelly voice, ‘Gidday me ol’ China plate.’
I smiled inside.
(For those of you who haven’t heard this Australian slang before, ‘old china plate’ is an endearing term which means ‘mate’.)